It's the most wonderful time of the year … to celebrate the Holiday season and the coming New Year with those closest to you. From informal cocktail and dessert parties to sit down formal dinners, to buying the perfect hostess gift, we have 12 great recommendations that are all affordable, impressive, but absolutely delicious wines that everyone will enjoy. We wish you all a joyful Holiday Season and Happy New Year. Cheers to good health, happiness, and amazing food and wine!
Sparkling Wine ~ A fantastic host or hostess gift and versatile wine for cocktail and dessert parties because it pairs with just about anything and is an affordable yet impressive bottle of bubbly.
Our Pick: Schramsberg Vineyards Mirabelle Brut $ 18.99
Fume Blanc ~ Just another name for Sauvignon Blanc, this crisp and refreshing wine has an intestinal fruit that makes your mouth water. Pair this chilled with your first course, favorite seafood dish or anything spicy.
Our Pick: Ferrari-Carano 2009 Fume Blanc $ 11.99
Pinot Gris ~ Our pick from Oregon's mostly planted varietal, this Pinot Gris is "bright and silky, delivering a lively mouthful of pear, apple, melon, and floral flavors that persists nicely …" Wine Spectator 90 points. Pairs great with all the flavors of the holiday season, like turkey, ham, or potato gratin.
Our Pick: Torii Mor 2009 Pinot Gris $ 12.98
Chardonnay ~ What a great value for this 92 pointer by Robert Parker. "The 2008 Chardonnay Estate has much more orange blossom and tropical fruit, with a hint of honeyed citrus, more color, and a slightly more caramelized style to it, but with less mineral than the Verna's. And although there is a touch of spice, there is virtually no evidence of any oak. " Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate. Pair this with rich fish dishes like salmon and oven roasted chicken.
Our Pick: Melville 2008 Chardonnay "Estate" Santa Rita Hills $ 19.95
Rose ~ A great WOW factor in the glass and vibrant on the palette. This dry rose has both spice and fruit, with hints of sage and watermelon on the nose, and flavors of juicy strawberries and red cherries finished with good acidity. A delicious way to start your cocktail party or the perfect bottle for a friend or fellow wine lover.
Our Pick: Tablas Creek 2008 Rose $ 21.99
Pinot Noir ~ A versatile wine for holiday fare, this Pinot Noir is full of ripe red cherries and rhubarb with a little herbal tea essence, nice acid, overall very well balanced. A side note, Pinot Noir is one of the toughest varietals to grow, so it's worth it to pay a little more for this varietal for better quality. Pair this with roast duck breast, pork tenderloin or the French dish, Coque a Vin. This is an impressive gift idea for any wine lover.
Our Pick: Adelaida 2007 HMR Pinot Noir $ 26.95
Grenache ~ What an amazing value for this 91 Pointer from Robert Parker. This seductively spicy wine offers both red and dark berry flavors, cracked pepper and smoky notes, ending with sweet cocoa powder in the lingering finish. Pair this Spanish wine with barbequed meats, slow cooked roasts, or even tomato based dishes, like lasagna. You do not want to miss out on this one. Great affordable gift idea for the fellow red wine drinker.
Our Pick: Borsao 2008 Tres Picos $ 13.95
Zinfandel ~ This is one of our all-time favorites. It has all the characteristics an amazing Zin should have. On the nose, it has aromas of both ripe and dried fruit, including blackberry and currants. The palate displays intense red fruits like cranberry and cherry with a smooth mouth feel and velvety tannins. Be warned it's very easy drinking, so pick up more than one bottle. It's a splurge, but hey, it's the holidays.
Our Pick: Chateau Montelena 2007 Zinfandel $ 29.95
Merlot ~ "We're NOT drinking Merlot!" Oh the famous saying from the movie "Sideways." Over the past few years, Merlot has been tainted negatively, a lot due to this film. Do not be fooled ladies and gents, there are great quality Merlot's out there. This full bodied wine has a strawberry jam filled nose that progress into flavors of dried plum and red cherry with herbal notes of rosemary and thyme. It finishes slightly sweet with toasted almonds, chocolate and candied orange. Pair this Merlot with grilled meats like herb crusted filet mignon.
Our Pick: Stags' Leap Winery 2007 Merlot $ 24.99
Syrah ~ What a delicious varietal for the winter season. This 90 Point syrah "is rich and complex enough to put on the table around a fine meal … Dry and finely tannic, it features flavors of black-berries, cherries, leather, mocha, tobacco, pepper and sage, and finishes long And spicy. " Wine Enthusiast. Pair with beef short ribs, rich stews, and beef bourguignon.
Our Pick: Kunde Estate Zinfandel $ 16.99
Cabernet Sauvignon ~ One of my favorite varietals, this 92 Point Cabernet from Robert Parker, "is the real deal. Incense, forest flowers, black fruits, and crushed rock, jump from the glass of this inky purple-colored wine. , Dense, and voluptuously textured, this is a beauty, a superb bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon that should drink well young … Bravo! " Robert Parker. Pair with a prime cut of beef, like a grilled rib-eye cooked to medium. The juicy buttery meat will melt in your mouth and soften the tannins in the wine. What a divine match.
Our Pick: Turnbull 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville $ 34.99
Port ~ A great dessert wine, like a Port, can be a sweet end to a delicious Holiday meal. "Very saturate dark red. Youthful port aromas of cassis, licorice, chocolate, herbs and damp earth. Wine-class port, with terrific structure, freshness and delineation of flavor. " Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar. Goes amazing with rich nutty or chocolate desserts and full bodied cheeses. Great gift idea: buy a bottle of this port and add your favorite dark chocolate truffles.
Our Pick: NV Graham Six Grapes Port $ 16.99